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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Review of The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson

There's brutality and bravery in this spooky tale--and the atmospheric descriptions of the remote, tiny town setting created an eerie, claustrophobic feeling.

The stories Immanuelle hears about her deceased mother Miriam all have one thing in common: her defiance of the Prophet. She was cut with the mark of the Prophet and was promised to him, but she was far from the submissive, obedient young woman held up as ideal in the land of Bethel. She became pregnant with Immanuelle by a man outside the small, secluded community and died when Immanuelle was born.

When Immanuelle ventures into the Darkwood, she encounters the legendary witches she's heard tell of her whole life--and finds that her mother's rumored encounters with the coven really happened. She's given a long-lost journal detailing her mother's exile, thirst for vengeance, and plans for enacting evil spells against those who treated her poorly.

Immanuelle also unwittingly offers power to a set of curses that threaten to destroy all of Bethel--unless Immanuelle can use the clues in her mother's devastating journal, her own hard-won realizations about her mother's intentions for her, and her new-found determination to defy the witches of the wood and their deadly vendettas and save her faulted community that is all she's ever known.

I listened to Henderson's spooky book as an audiobook, and this dark, witchy tale felt perfect as winter is coming. There's brutality--facial mutilation for the multiple wives of the Prophet, burning wrongdoers on pyres, and other cutthroat approaches to justice--as well as incredible bravery on the part of Immanuelle and her friend Ezra, the Prophet's son. The twisted interpretations of the scripture by the Prophet and his unchecked, cruel power were disturbing, and the atmospheric descriptions of the remote, tiny town created an eerie, claustrophobic feeling.

Any Bossy thoughts on this book?

This was truly spooky. The descriptions of the witches alone may give me bad dreams, yeow! There's another book planned for this series; I hope the tides of power have turned in Bethel in book two.

I mentioned this book (along with Notes on a Silencing and I'm Still Here) in the Greedy Reading List Three Books I'm Reading Now, 12/14/20 Edition.


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